The Rise and Fall of Israel

Posted by on May 29, 2016

From here we can proceed with the chronology of the kings of Israel and later Yehudah according to the records in the books of Kings and Chronicles, and also according to the annals of the Babylonian Chronicles.

The Babylonian Chronicles is a set of clay tablets listing in an annalistic (year-by-year) fashion the key events of each year, such as the accession and deaths of kings, major military events, and notable religious occurrences. It follows a standard pattern of reporting only events of immediate relevance to Babylon. The Babylonian Chronicles records events in ancient Babylon dating from about 750 BC to 280 BC providing additional information on synchronization of the reign of the last kings of Yehudah in the Biblical Kings and Chronicles. What is important to know in order to decipher the reigns of the kings is that, a complete harmony of the chronological data of the Kingdoms of Israel and Yehudah during the two centuries, when the two kingdoms existed side by side, cannot be obtained, if it is not assumed that Yehudah followed an autumn-to-autumn calendar and Israel a spring-to-spring calendar. This is important.

After the year in which the construction of the Temple began has been correctly established (2973), we can proceed to restore the reigns of the kings of Israel. Since, 1Ki 6:1 says that in the fourth year of the reign of Shlomo over Israel, in the second month, he began to build the House of YHVH, then the beginning of his reign would be in year 2970, and forty years counted backwards would bring us to the beginning of reign of his father David in 2930, and another forty years: to 2890 when the first king of Israel, Shaul, began to reign. Hence, we may determine the reigns of the kings of the United Kingdom of Israel and later Yehudah from the creation of the world.

There are well known problems in the chronology of the kings of Israel and Yehudah and they all lie in the synchronization of the reigns as recorded in the annals, i.e. the sixth year of King Hizqiyahu and the ninth year of King Hoshea do not align: the total number of years of reign of kings of Yehudah is 260 and for the kings of Israel is 241 after which the Northern Kingdom went into exile.

A close look at the chronology in Table 1 below shows that there are differences between the chronologies of Albright, Thiele, Galil, and Kitchen. Furthermore, if the years of kings’ reigns are simply added up, as they appear in Kings and Chronicles, there would be 513 years for the reigns of kings of Israel and later Yehudah, while the actual span of their reign is considerably smaller. Why is this discrepancy? Suffice to say is that the 513 years represent the years as they appear in the Biblical accounts. On the other hand, the scholars have taken into account the co-regency (when a son may be made king during the reign of the father, as an equal of the father) in the reigns of the kings; in other words, the Biblical accounts consider the absolute numbers of years as each individual king reigned without showing the overlap of years with his predecessor and/or successor. In those situations the year of reigns are counted in terms of both the father and of the son. The apparent co-regency can be seen in the following records,

And in the fifth year of Yehoram son of Ahav sovereign of Israel – Yehoshaphat was sovereign of Yehudah – Yehoram son of Yehoshaphat began to reign as sovereign of Yehudah. (2Ki_8:16)

And all the people of Yehudah took Uzziyahu, who was sixteen years old, and set him up to reign instead of his father Amatsyahu. He built Eyloth and restored it to Yehudah, after the sovereign slept with his fathers. (2Ch_26:1-2)

An additional complication to the issue is that the Northern Kingdom measured the years by a non-accession system (first partial year of reign was counted as year one), whereas the Southern Kingdom used the accession method (it was counted as year zero and king’s first year commenced with the first day of the first month of the biblical year). For instance, in 2Ch_29:3 we see the righteous King Hizqiyahu started his reign in the first month of the year when he ordered the priests to cleanse the entire House of YHVH and all its vessels from the wickedness of his father Ahaz. The priests commenced the cleansing of the House on the first of the first month and finished it on the sixteenth day (2Ch_29:15-17). King Ahaz died sometime in the preceding year, his son Hizqiyahu took the kingdom at his father’s death, but his accession was on the first of the first month of the year. That, that was the first month in the spring is seen in the king’s preparation for the second Passover because the House and the priests had not been consecrated for the Passover in the first month (2Ch_30:1-3, 2Ch_30:15).

So, for the purpose of restoring reckoning of time, the present author will count the first year of reign of the kings of Yehudah as a full year. Also, the calendars for reckoning the years of kings of Yehudah and Israel were off by six months as already said above: that of Yehudah starting in the seventh month (an autumn-to-autumn calendar) and that of Israel in the first (spring-to-spring calendar).

Before we proceed with the analyzing of the chronology of the kings of Israel and Yehudah, we need to know that the Hebrew chroniclers counted the regnal years of a foreign king according to the calendar of the chroniclers’ own country, even if it differed from the calendar of the country over which the foreign king ruled. Only if this principle is recognized and consistently applied can a chronology of the kings of Yehudah and Israel be obtained, based on the synchronisms and other chronological data found in Kings and Chronicles. Siegfried H. Horn has noticed,

The clearest example of this practice in Biblical literature is Nehemiah’s record of his appointment as governor of Judah in Nisan of the 20th year of Artaxerxes I (Neh_2:1) after he had received a report of the unfavorable conditions in Judah in the month Kislev of that same 20th year of Artaxerxes (Neh_1:1). Unless an error is involved in one or both of these texts, as some scholars think, we have here evidence of a calendar year in which Kislev preceded Nisan, and of the fact that a Jew applied this type of calendar to the 20th year of Artaxerxes, king of Persia. If this were an isolated case one might be tempted to dismiss the evidence as an error, but the cumulative evidence from many sources points in the same direction: the kingdom of Judah in the pre-exilic period used an autumn-to-autumn civil year, and applied it to the reckoning of the regnal years not only of their own kings but also of foreign kings as well, and this practice remained in force among many post-exilic Jews.

Siegfried H. Horn, The Babylonian Chronicle and the Ancient Calendar of the Kingdom of Judah, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

The agreement between the modern-day scholars is that the Thiele chronology was accepted as the best chronology for the kingdom period, but that it was also not without flaws. Again, let us consider where we started from. For the purpose of this work, the present author has set a certain starting point to trace this challenging for many chronology. The year when King Shlomo began to build the Temple is been taken as the starting point being 480 years from Israel’s crossing of the Yarden (see 1Ki_6:1, 2Ch_3:2, and explanation above) which was also his fourth year. Then, counting backwards four years, the beginning of his reign is established being year 2970; another forty years for the beginning of his father’s, King David, reign: year 2930, and forty more years, when King Shaul was anointed and we arrive in year 2890, when the monarchy was established.

Since the year of the first king has been firmly established, the next step will be to set the last year of the last king of Yehudah, King Tzidkiyahu. In order to achieve this, there is a key text that need attention in order to decipher the chronology of the kings of Yehudah and Israel and this is Rashi’s comments on Lev_26:35.

“The seventy years of the Babylonian exile, between the destruction of the first Temple and the building of the second, corresponded to the seventy years of Shemittah and Jubilee years that took place during the years that Israel angered the Omnipresent while in their Land, a total of 430 years. Three hundred and ninety years were the years of their sinning from when they entered the land until the Ten Tribes were exiled, and the people of Judah angered Him for forty more years from the time the Ten Tribes were exiled until the destruction of Yerushalayim. This is what is referred to in Eze_4:4-5 when God makes Ezekiel figuratively suffer one day for each year Israel sinned, in order to atone for their sins, “And you shall lie on your left side (symbolizing the house of Israel, i.e., the ten tribes)… Now I have made for you the years of their iniquity by the number of days, three hundred and ninety days, and you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when you complete these, you shall lie on your right side a second time, and you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah: forty days a day for a year, a day for a year, I have given it to you.”

Now, this prophecy was stated to Ezekiel in the fifth year of King Yehoyaqin’s exile. And since the people of Judah spent another six years in the Land until Tzidqiyahu’s exile, totaling forty-six sinful years of the house of Judah, and hence, of the 850 years the people of Israel spent from the time of their entry into the Land until their eventual exile from it after the destruction of the first Holy Temple, they sinned for a total of 436 years. Now, you might object, saying that King Manasseh [who was born immediately after the ten tribes were exiled, and who] ruled for fifty-five years and so, even without taking into account the sinful years during the reigns of all the other kings of Judah, fifty-five years alone is more than forty-six, so surely the calculation is incorrect! However, Manasseh repented his evil ways for thirty-three of the fifty-five years of his reign, and thus, his sinful years amounted to twenty-two years, as it is written, “and he made an asherah as Ahab, the king of Israel, had made” (2Ki_21:3) and Ahab ruled for twenty-two sinful years, so did Manasseh sin for twenty-two of his fifty-five year reign, as is taught in the Aggadah of the eleventh chapter of Tractate Sanh. (103a), entitled Cheilek. Thus, the number of years that the house of Judah sinned was: 22 years during the reign of Manasseh, two during the reign of Amon, eleven during the reign of Yehoyaqim and the same [i.e., another eleven] during the reign of Tzidqiyahu making a total of 46 years. The other kings of Judah are not included in the calculation, because during the righteous Yoshiyahu’s reign, Israel did not sin, while Jehoachaz and Yehoyaqin each ruled for only three months. Let us now go and calculate, for the period of 436 years of sin, how many Shemittah and Jubilee years transpired during the years, at a rate of sixteen in every hundred years: 14 Shemittah years and two Jubilee years totaling 16 sabbatical years. Therefore, for 400 years, we have 64, and for the remaining 36 years, there are five cycles of seven years and thus five Shemittah years, making a total of 64 and 5 = seventy minus one [i.e., 69 unobserved sabbatical years in that total of 436 sinful years in that period]. And we must add to this calculation an extra year-this extra year was the last sinful year of the 436, which began another Shemittah cycle and God exiled Israel then and did not wait for the completion of that cycle for them to desecrate the seventieth Shemittah year-out of mercy for them, so that they would not have to endure the punishment of utter destruction, God forbid. – [see Deu_4:25 and Rashi there; Sifthei Chachamim] This extra year, nevertheless, is included in the calculation here, as though another sabbatical had gone by unobserved, thereby completing the seventy unobserved sabbatical years of that period. And for these unobserved sabbaticals, a full seventy years of exile were decreed. And thus is it stated in 2Ch_36:21, “until the Land was appeased regarding its Sabbaths; for all the days of its desolation it rested, until the completion of seventy years.” – [See Sefer Hazikkaron for the explanation of this Rashi.]

Our comments on Rashi’s:

In his commentary on Lev_26:35, Rashi gives very important information, the present author believes, on three key moments: (1) the total length of the period between Israel’s entry in the land and the beginning of the Babylonian exile: 850 years, (2) the years during which Israel angered Elohim while in their land, a total of 430 years, and (3) 436 sinful years during which Israel accrued 70 unobserved sabbatical years. These and other matters will be commented below.

Rashi says: 850 years the people of Israel spent from the time of their entry into the Land until their eventual exile. Here again one can ask the question: How could Rashi have known that there were 850 years from Israel’s entry into the land until the Babylonian exile? It is very probable that he had used the same sources, which Apostle Shaul used, from the Jewish tradition or the Apocrypha, which very often overlap. The account of Rashi of 850 years from the entry in the land until the beginning of the Babylonian exile is a key clue to properly restore the Creator’s reckoning of time. It has also been used in this work to derive the 468 years of reign of the kings of Israel and Yehudah as opposed to the 465 years per Albright, Thiele, Galil, and Kitchen. Rashi also says that there are “seventy years of the Babylonian exile, between the destruction of the first Temple and the building of the second” but most likely what he meant was the years between the destruction of the First Temple and Kings Koresh’s edict to build the Second Temple, not the year when the construction of the Temple was finished in the sixth year of King Dareyavesh. Otherwise, the total span of the Babylonian exile would have been 94 years, not 70.

Rashi also says that these 850 years are to be counted from the time of their entry into the land. According to Talmudic calculations the entrance of the Israelites into the Land occurred in the year of Creation 2489. The first cycle commenced after the conquest of the land and its distribution among the tribes, which, occupied fourteen years and 850 years passed between 2489 and the destruction of the First Temple. And the jubilee occurred on the “tenth day of the month [Tishri], in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten” when Ezekiel received the vision of the Third Temple (Eze_40:1), according to the sages (‘Ab. Zarah 9b; ‘Ar. 11b-12b). If the year of entry in the land (which Rashi considers the crossing of the Yarden River) is correct and the destruction of the First Temple was 850 years after that, and the jubilee occurred after another fourteen years, then we come to year 3352 which was not neither jubilee nor sabbatical (see Jubilees Table).

But, if the 850 are counted, as this study has already explained in chapter From The Exodus To The Promised Land, when the law of the land became obligatory fourteen years after the Israelites crossed the river and “entry into the land” means “inheriting the land” then we will receive different results. The present author has made the hypothesis to count these 850 years not from the crossing of the Yarden River but from when the land was inherited. Therefore, 2494 year of Creation being the year of crossing of the Yarden River, then seven years for the conquest and another seven for the division of the land which ended in the jubilee year of 2507, and then 850 years are counted, we come to the jubilee year of 3357 in which the Temple was destroyed and Yerushalayim plundered. Later in this study, we will see that this hypothesis will be proven correct because the year in which the First Temple was destroyed happened to be the 67th Jubilee Year. This cannot be just coincidental but by heavenly design. To the question why the years 2507 and 3357 from the Creation are considered jubilees by the present author, it is sufficient now to say that they correspond to jubilee years of 2500 and 3350 per The Redemption Plan of YHVH which was necessary to commence when the first man Adam sinned seven years from the Creation. This will be explained in more details later on in this study.

As for the year in which the prophet Ezekiel saw the vision concerning the Third Temple, the fourteenth year of the exile, the tenth day of the seventh month, Yom Kippur, that was indeed the second sabbatical year after the city was smitten. See Jubilees Table.

Secondly, Rashi says that Israel angered Elohim while in the land for a total of 430 years. He compiled these 430 years from Ezekiel’s prophecy: 390 years were the years of Israel’s sinning from when they entered the land until the Ten Tribes were exiled, and 40 more years for Yehudah from the time the Ten Tribes were exiled until the destruction of Yerushalayim. From his explanation it appears that he sees the 430 years as a total number of the sinful years only and not as a continuous, uninterrupted period of time. In other words, Rashi counts 390 years for Israel and 40 years for Yehudah as the years of their sinning and does not include the years of reign of the righteous kings like David, Asa, and Yoshiyahu, for instance. But the reason for the exile was not the unrighteousness of the kings of Israel and Yehudah alone, but the unobserved rest of the land, the sabbatical and jubilee years. The land had not had its rightful rest even during the reign of King David. The righteousness of King David and King Yoshiyahu could not have possibly reconciled the transgression of the Sabbaths but their own walking with YHVH (Eze_14:20). The land required its own rest through observance of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. The opinion of the present author is that these 390 years for Israel and 40 years for Yehudah are years of the accountability of kingdoms, not of the kings, and they are to be counted continually. Hence, if they are counted as such, from the time the land was inherited and the laws of the sabbatical and jubilee years went into force in year 2508, then the end of them would be year 2937, the very year in which King David captured Yerushalayim. That the 430 years ended with the capture of Yerushalayim cannot be coincidental, either. The reason being is that until that year neither the land nor the city of YHVH were in possession of the Israelites. Bear in mind that YHVH said to them that He would choose where His Dwelling Place, the Temple, would be which later came to be Yerushalayim. That is why the land and the city of YHVH must have been in possession of Israel first and only then YHVH could have established His dwelling among his people.

Now, it is perfectly understandable why the Almighty was angry with the people during those 430 years: because they had not conquered the entire land completely and Yerushalayim as a center point of worship. David subsequently subdued the Philistines and Moabites, and pushed his victories to the river Euphrates, thus fulfilling the promise of YHVH to Avraham (Gen_15:18; 2Sa_8:1-3). Numerous engagements followed, in all of which David was victorious (2Sa_8:4-14). Now, if the 430 years are counted in that manner, then the prophecy of Ezekiel (which will be studied later) reveals its deeper meaning and excludes any coincidence.

Thirdly, Rashi also says that there are seventy unobserved sabbatical and jubilee years accrued in the total number of 436 years. However, as already noticed, the land had not observed its due rest for much longer time than 436 years, and consequently, the Babylonian exile should have been more than seventy years. Hence, the question that can be raised is this: why did the land rest only seventy years and not the adequate rest the land deserved from year 2508? Remember that in that year the laws of the Sabbaths and Jubilees of the land came into force. An insight to understand this issue can be found in Stephen’s speech before the High Priest when he was falsely accused of teaching contrary to the Torah. He says,

The Tent of Witness was with our fathers in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Mosheh to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Yehoshua into the land possessed by the gentiles, whom Elohim drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David(Act_7:44-45)

The key phrase here is the land possessed by the gentiles, whom Elohim drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David. From here we may deduce that Elohim might have considered the conquest and the division of the land in year 2507 incomplete and surely the Israelites did not recover all the land from the gentiles as they were commanded. And thus, the legitimate years, during which the land was to have its rest, were counted when the Israelites finally had the possession of the entire land and Yerushalayim (as promised to the forefathers) until the reign of King David. And indeed, a quick reference in the supplemental Jubilees Table shows that 436 years counted backwards from the destruction of the First Temple and the beginning of the Babylonian exile lead to the 33rd year of King Shaul. Until that year of the king’s reign, the nations were not driven out of the land completely, and apparently, Elohim did not hold this period (from the entry of the land until the 33rd year of King Shaul) against Israel for transgression of the Torah as far as Leviticus 25 was concerned. Nevertheless, He was angry with them for 430 years (390 years for the House of Israel plus 40 years for the House of Yehudah) commencing in year 2508, the very year the laws of the Sabbaths and Jubilees of the land came into force. Notice that, according to the testimony of Stephen, Elohim drove the nations out, not Israel. Notice also that until the 33rd year of Shaul, his reign was already twice rejected by Elohim and there were yet seven more years until his death. In his speech, Apostle Stephen says until the days of David which does not necessarily mean, as at first thought, “until the beginning of David’s reign” but probably an event that might have introduced the future king into the scene. We may well discern that Apostle Stephen might have too used the same source of information, namely the tradition of the elders.

But what happened that year, the 33rd year of King Shaul, seven years before King David began to reign? Were the enemies of Israel driven out of the land completely thus having ushered the counting of the sabbatical and jubilee years? No, they were not. The nations had never been driven completely out of the land, not even today. Therefore, we may ask the question: what event would have triggered the accountability of Israel for observance of the laws of the Sabbaths? And because the land was not cleansed from the nations even after the 33rd year of Shaul, it would be reasonable to assume that not literal but symbolic event would have triggered the accountability of nation of Israel for not having observed the Sabbatical and Jubilee years of the land.

The only event that comes to mind is the fight between the young David and the Philistine. We read,

But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the Name of Yehovah of hosts, the Elohim of the armies of Israel, whom you have reproached. This day Yehovah shall deliver you into my hand, and I shall smite you and take your head from you, and give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines today to the birds of the heavens and the wild beasts of the earth, so that all the earth know that Elohim is for Israel, and all this assembly know that Yehovah does not save with sword and spear, for the battle belongs to Yehovah, and He shall give you into our hands.” (1Sa 17:45-47)

This fight must have taken place close to the end of King Shaul’s reign when David was a young man. But how old was David when this fight took place? The common perception is that David must have been a young boy who shepherded his father’s sheep and liked to play around with his sling. However, this type of David cannot be supported by the text of 1 Samuel 17. First, we learn that Shaul stood in the midst of the people, and he was taller than any of the people, from his shoulders and upwards (1Sa_10:23-24). Later, we see that Shaul dressed David with his garments and put his bronze helmet and his armor on him (1Sa_17:38-39). How tall was King Shaul? He was taller than any of the people, from his shoulders and upwards. If he put his armor on David, David must have been as tall as Shaul. King Shaul was not foolish to put his armor on a little boy and send him against the strongest warrior of the Philistines before whom all Israel feared. Also, we learn that David was thirty years old when he began to reign: David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. (2Sa_5:4)

Thus, counting the years backwards from the end of King David’s reign to the 33rd year of King Shaul, we come to the conclusion that David was twenty-two years old when he defeated the Philistine: a perfect age for a young and extraordinary strong man like David who was able to kill a lion and a bear (1Sa_17:34-35). And the next seven years were years of hostility of Shaul towards David until the 30th year of David when he became the anointed king of Israel.

Why should Elohim have driven the nations out of the land? To correctly understand this, we need to go back at Mount Sinai where YHVH revealed the purpose for the calling of Israel and the choosing of the land. Israel was to be a people who would live exclusively by Torah, therefore, the land was set apart for Israel for the purpose of living out the Torah. Only when Israel has kept the Torah then they would be allowed to remain in the land (Lev_18:24-30). For Israel to fulfill the covenant and the laws of the sabbatical and jubilee years in particular, she must have possessed the land of promise.

The boundaries given to Abraham (Gen_15:18) are larger than those given to Mosheh (Num_34:2-12). In the Abrahamic Covenant, the eastern border extends all the way to the Euphrates River. In Numbers, the Yarden River is the eastern border. If we follow the Abrahamic boundaries, then the laws pertaining to the sabbatical and jubilee years of the land extend to the whole land. When Israel entered the Promised Land, there were about 600,000 men of war, hence the danger of too much land and too few people to possess it and defend it. There were not nearly enough people to take and hold the whole of the land promised to Abraham. Therefore, Israel was allowed to possess only a portion of the Promised Land at a time (Exo_23:29-30). The Creator did wisely recognize that Israel was not yet ready to take possession of all the land. Thus, the twelve biological tribes were apportioned their share within the territory west of the the Yarden River, with the exception of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. Sadly, Israel did not take even this small portion of the land, hence the necessity of the Almighty’s intervention.

That the Almighty had to drive the nations out of His land had to do with the failure of Shaul to be obedient to do so. And from year 2922, the Creator began to hold Israel responsible for giving the land its due rest (see Yovelim Table). Let us recall here that Israel angered Elohim for not having driven the nations out of the land for a total of 430 years counted from year 2508 when the land was inherited until 2937 when David finally conquered the land and Yerushalayim.

In summary, these are the events in a chronological order, that would cast a light on the 436 years of countdown to the exile:

1. the Philistine servitude lasted forty years (Jdg_13:1) and after twenty years the 20-year judgeship of Shimshon began.

2. the servitude was terminated in the beginning of Shemuel’s judgeship (1Sa_7:13-15) when the ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines and held for seven months (1Sa_6:1); Eli the High Priest and Judge of Israel, after having heard the bad news died at the age of 98 after having served for 40 years (1Sa_4:18); and after the ark was returned to Israel, 20 years went by until Shemuel began his ministry as a prophet with which the period of Judges ended (1Sa_7:1-8). Jdg_13:1, Jdg_14:4, Jdg_15:20, Jdg_16:31, 1Sa_3:20.

3. 1Sa_10:24-26, Shemuel was very old when he declared Shaul king in order to deliver the people from the Ammonites (1Sa_12:12-13; 1Sa_12:17-19).

4. 1Sa_13:1-14, when he had reigned two years, King Shaul was dethroned because he offered a burnt offering before the battle with the Philistines (in which his son Yonathan smote them, 1Sa_14:1-13) and because he did not guarded what YHVH commanded him. What did YHVH command him? Did King Shaul violate the offering command?

5. 1Sa_15:1-35, Shemuel was sent to anoint Shaul king before the battle with Amaleq in which he did not killed Amaleqites and because of that he was rejected as king. Shemuel did not see Sha’ul again until his death, therefore this battle was after the battle with the Philistines in which Yonathan smote them. See 1Sa_15:11-23 and 1Sa_28:17-18 why Shaul was dethroned; because he did not obey the voice of YHVH nor execute His burning wrath upon Amaleq.

6. 1Sa_17:33, David and Golyath (different battle with the Philistines from the battle Yonathan conducted); 1Sa_17:55-58, David was introduced to King Shaul for the first time and was with the king from then on: 1Sa_18:1-2.

7. 1Sa_16:1-13, Shaul had already been rejected when David was anointed to become a king and in 1Sa_16:18-21 he became King Shaul’s armour-bearer.

8. 1Sa_18:5-12, David as a man of battle; Shaul was afraid of him. [And Sha’ul took the reign over Israel, and fought against all his enemies, against Mo’av, Ammon, Edom, and the Philistines. He smote the Amaleqites and delivered Israel (1Sa_14:47-52)].

9. (1Sa_25:1) Shemuel died (there is no chronological evidence as to how long he lived, served Israel as prophet, and when he died).

10. King Shaul died in battle (2929) the day after he spoke with the ghost of Shemuel (1Sa_28:19), so, Shemuel must have died between year 2916 (when he anointed David) and year 2929.

From this it can be concluded that in year 2922 YHVH drove out the enemies of Israel in a symbolic way with the battle between David and the Philistine and commenced to count the years for the sabbaths of the land and hold Israel accountable for them.

For the purpose of this work the author assumes that Shaul and Rashi had used reliable sources of information and the spans of 850 years from Israel’s entry into the Land in year 2507 (bear in mind that when Rashi said “their entry into the Land ” he reckoned 850 years from the division of the land per the Rabbinical tradition) until the exile in 3357, and 450 years for the Judges of Israel from year 2454 until year 2903, are correct and will use them for the purpose of this matter. Below is the table of the reigns of the kings of Israel and later Yehudah based on the everything said above (the wicked kings are marked in red).

Table 1

Kings

Albright

Thiele

Galil

Kitchen

BC

Yrs

Notes

Shaul

40

Act_13:20-21

David

1000–962

1010–970

1010–970

1013-974

40

2Sa_5:4

Shlomo

962–922

970–931

971–931

973-934

40

1Ki_6:1

Rehavam

932–915

931–913

931–914

931–915

933-917

17

2Ch_12:13, 1Ki_14:20-21

Aviyahu

915–913

913–911

914–911

915–912

916-914

3

2Ch_13:2, 1Ki_15:1-3

Asa

913–873

911–870

911–870

912–871

913-873

41

2Ch_16:13, 1Ki_16:29,

Yehoshaphat

873–849

870–848

870–845

871–849

872-848

25

2Ch_20:31, 1Ki_22:41-42

Yehoram

849–842

848–841

851–843

849–842

847-840

8

2Ch_21:5, 2Ki_8:16-17

Ahazyahu/
Yeho’ahaz

842–842

841–841

843–842

842–841

839

1

2Ch_22:1-2, 2Ki_8:24-26

Athalyahu,
the queen

842–837

841–835

842–835

841–835

839-833

6*

2Ch_22:12, 2Ki_11:2-4, 2Ki_11:20,

Yo’ash

837–800

835–796

842–802

841–796

832-793

40

2Ch_24:1, 2Ki_12:1-2

Amatsyahu

800–783

796–767

805–776

796–776

792-764

29

2Ch_25:1, 2Ki_14:1-2

Uzziyahu

783–742

767–740

788–736

776–736

763-740

52

2Ch_26:3, 2Ki_15:1-2

Yotham

742–735

740–732

758–742

750–735/30

739-731

16

2Ch_27:1, 2Ki_15:30-33

Ahaz

735–715

732–716

742–726

735/31–715

730-715

16

2Ch_28:1, 2Ki_16:2, Isa_7:1-8

Hizqiyahu

715–687

716–687

726–697

715–687

714-686

29

2Ch_29:1, 2Ki_18:10-11

Menashsheh

687–642

687–643

697–642

687–642

685-641

55

2Ch_33:1, 2Ch_33:10-16 2Ki_21:1.

Amon

642–640

643–641

642–640

642–640

640-639

2

2Ch_33:21

Yoshiyahu

640–609

641–609

640–609

640–609

638-608

31

2Ch_34:1 , 2Ki_23:2-3

Yehoahaz/
Shallum

609

609

609

609

608

3m

2Ch_36:2 Jer_22:11-12, 2Ch_36:2-4

Elyaqim/
Yehoyaqim

609–598

609–598

609–598

609–598

607-597

11

2Ch_36:5-7, 2Ki_23:36, Dan_1:1-2

Yehoyakin/
Yekonyah/
Konyahu

598

598

598–597

598–597

597

3m, 10d

2Ki_24:6, 2Ch_36:9, 2Ki_24:8, Eze_1:1-2

Tsidqiyahu

597–587

597–586

597–586

597–586

597-586

11

2Ch_36:11, Jer_52:1

Temple destroyed

587

586

586

586

586

2Ki_25:1-12 Jer_52:6-16

Total Span

454

465

465

465

468

513

*queen Athalyahu was dethroned in her seventh year meaning she reigned 6 years.

 Our comments on Albright, Thiele, Galil, and Kitchen:

The king who reigned before Yoshiyahu was King Amon and there is no dispute between the scholars that he reigned two years (2Ch_33:21). The king before Amon was Menasheh who according to 2Ch_33:1 had reigned fifty-five years, but taking into account the co-regency, Thiele gives him forty-five years of reign.

All scholars are in agreement that there was no co-regency in the reign of King Hizqiyahu and they all give twenty-nine years as per the account in 2Ch_29:1. The reign of Hizqiyahu deserves more attention not only because in his sixth year the northern kingdom went into exile but also because during his reign the Biblical accounts record a sabbatical year which is a pivotal point in restoring of the Creator’s reckoning of time. For more on this sabbatical year in the reign of King Hizqiyahu, the next chapter has been dedicated.

Thiele is in agreement with the Biblical account in 2Ki_16:2 that King Ahaz who preceded Hizqiyahu, reigned sixteen years and we will take it as so. The next kings as we continue to go backwards are Yotham and Uzziyahu respectively. The reigns of these two kings are probably the most controversial as far as the synchronization is concerned. There is no agreement between the scholars as to how to solve this controversy in the Biblical accounts. Below are the controversial accounts and some of the opinions which do not do any better to solve the problem:

Uzziyah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years. (2Ki_15:1-2) And Yehovah smote him, so that he was a leper until the day of his death, and he dwelt in a separate house. And his son Yotham was over the house, ruling the people of the land. (2Ki_15:5) Uzziyah slept with his fathers and Yotham his son reigned in his place. (2Ki_15:7)

In the fifty-second year of Uzziyah sovereign of Yehudah, Peqah began to reign over Israel, for twenty years. (2Ki_15:27) And Hoshea killed him, and reigned in his place in the twentieth year of Yotham son of Uzziyah*. (2Ki_15:30)

In the second year of Pekach, Yotham son of Uzziyahu, was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years. (2Ki_15:32-33)

In the seventeenth year of Pekach, Ahaz son of Yotham, was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Yerushalayim. (2Ki_16:1-2)

Yotham became king at the age of 25 and, according to 2Ki_15:33, reigned 16 years. This contradicts the statement three verses earlier that “Hoshea son of Elah, made a conspiracy … in the twentieth year of Yotham son of Uzziyahu” (2Ki_15:30), indicating that Yotham reigned at least 20 years. This may be the result of a miscalculation by a late historian who did not take the coregency (below) into account (Cogan and Tadmor, 181). The concluding phrase is missing from the Lucianic recension of the Septuagint. Apparently Yotham died close to the time of his father’s death. According to 2Ki_15:5, he was co-regent with his father after the latter had contracted a dread skin disease (zara’at; traditionally but inaccurately rendered “leprosy”), and was isolated outside the city, while Yotham was “in charge of the palace” (al ha-bayit), and thus was actually second in rank to the king. Encyclopaedia Hebraica, S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)

The difficulties presented by the conflicting scriptural datings of the reigns of Amatsyahu and Yotham are explained by the statement that Yotham ruled for 20 years during the illness of his father, Uzziyahu. The scriptural reference to the 20th year of Yotham’s reign (2Ki_15:30), as against the statement that he reigned only for 16 years (2Ch_27:1), is resolved by pointing out that because of his piety four years were deducted from Ahab’s reign and added to those of Yotham (SOR 22). Jewish Virtual Library

Thiele has reckoned nine years for the reign of Yotham as opposed to sixteen years as per 2Ch_27:1 and twenty-eight years for his father, King Uzziyahu. The present author, by no means of reasoning but solely to make the reign of Uzziyahu fit into Rashi’s 850 years, assumes twenty-four years.

There is no great deal of dispute regarding the reigns of the kings from Amatsyahu who reigned twenty-nine years to Rehavam, seventeen years, when the kingdom was divided into north and south. (See Jubilees Table for more details).

To sum up the whole issue of the synchronization of the reign of the kings from King Shaul to the last king of Yehudah, Tzidqiyahu, we can say this: despite the difficulties and controversy around the chronology of the kings, the 468 years of reign, as found here, as opposed to the 465 years per Albright, Thiele, Galil, and Kitchen, is reliable and with the advance of this work, will be proven to be correct.